God, you always ask for what is most precious:

            “Abraham,” you say,”

            “Take your son

            Your only one

            all that is precious to you

            Take that upon which all your hope hangs

            Burn it on the altar of sacrifice!”

Yes, I know, you do intervene

Always there is the 11-hour reprieve

Isaac is saved

A lamb is killed

And everyone goes home happy!

Except us!

Us, your unglamorous little ones

            your unknown poor,

            those whom those concerned with your known poor

            are unconcerned about.

Who don’t have an Isaac to sacrifice

And who don’t share in Abraham’s luxury of being able to freely


            to sacrifice something.

We have no fruit from our longing

            No flesh to reward our years of aching

We have only the poverty of unattractiveness

            in our too-plain bodies and our varicose veins.

Unsmiling, masturbating in our neuroses

            we are too tired and inhibited

            to climb the mountain of sacrifice.

Would we had an Isaac!

Far better to give up

Knowing that at least we had had

Than longing

            producing only daydreams

                        fleshless, psychotic.

What Isaac do you want from us?

But surely not!

Surely you would not have us tie that to the altar of sacrifice?

            Plainness, varicose veins, unsmiling neurotic masturbation!

They are what?

The lamb you substituted for Isaac!